Welcome!

My name is Will Duchon. I live in Stratford, CT.


In 2003 I encountered Mr. Shane Watson, who is currently serving a 25 year to life sentence for second-degree murder. After careful review of the case transcripts, police reports, trial transcripts and other documentation, it became clear that Shane is not guilty of this crime. His case is an example of flawed "eyewitness" testimony, an incredibly flimsy prosecution, and essentially a travesty of justice. Shane is 49 years old, and has been in prison since 1993.



Along with some dedicated friends from Pleasantville Presbyterian Church in Pleasantville, NY, Monroe Congregational Church in Monroe, CT, the fine attorney Robert Boyle of New York City, and our dedicated investigator Doug Walters of Chicago, I am seeking to have Shane's conviction overturned so that ultimately, he will be free to enjoy his life.



This blog is simply a way to share Shane's story as well as new and current information regarding his case. I encourage you to read the posts that describe the details of his case. It is also an opportunity to learn about how flawed the criminal justice system is.

For details of the Shane Watson case, please read the SUMMARY by our investigator, Doug Walters.






Thank you for visiting.
































































Monday, July 14, 2014

Thank You, WBAI-FM

I'm reminded today that we owe a debt of gratitude to the excellent listener-supported radio station WBAI in New York City. In 2003, I happened to be listening to WBAI in my car, while driving in my hometown, White Plains, NY. The late Al Lewis ("Grandpa" from the 1960's sitcom "The Munsters") was speaking about prison reform on his regular Saturday morning program. Mr. Lewis spoke about how so many inmates appreciate hearing from people on the outside, in the form of a simple letter of encouragement, and urged listeners to send in a postcard with one's mailing address in order to be connected with an inmate who wanted to correspond. Several weeks later, I received a postcard with Shane Watson's name and mailing address at Green Haven Correctional Facility, in Stormville, NY.


What are the odds that I would not only be listening to WBAI at that particular moment when Al Lewis encouraged reaching out to someone in prison? And what were the odds that, of all the possible names of inmates I would be given, I was given Shane Watson's name? From this event of synchronicity, randomness, luck, fate, or whatever term one chooses to call it, here we are, over ten years later, on the verge of appealing for a new trial.


I encourage you to listen to WBAI, which has long spoken out for the voiceless.








Thursday, July 10, 2014

APPEAL

We are going forward with our appeal of Judge Price's decision. The Appellate Court is made up of a panel of judges, which we hope will be more favorable to our new evidence and see through the gaping holes in this case.






Thank you for your support and interest.












Saturday, June 28, 2014

ENOUGH

"Just when one thought that Judge Price wasn't sleeping and was going to do the right thing...(unbelievable).
We're at the door where all the sacrifice and hard work (is in sight). Amen!"
-Shane Watson, June 24, 2014


The lines above were written in the first letter I received from Shane after his being informed that Judge Richard Price denied our motion for a new trial. Fortunately, I was able to speak with Shane's wife Paula last week when I received the news from our attorney, Robert Boyle. I wanted Paula to be able to tell Shane herself when she spoke to him on the phone as they regularly do, rather than his learning the news from Robert's letter containing the 50-page decision from Judge Price. I received Shane's letter yesterday, (Friday, June 27) and first saw it when I got home after midnight from my weekly radio program on WMNR. I delayed opening the letter and reading it, knowing that Shane would be expressing yet more disappointment and frustration. I needed to prepare myself before reading Shane's letter. As usual, and as has been the case throughout my ten-year friendship with Shane, he managed to rise above the pettiness and see the setback as another step forward. I know that he does this because it is his nature to do so, but also he adopts this attitude as a survival technique. The alternative would be to sink into the abyss of hopelessness.

Being on the outside, however, I have the luxury of giving into my own frustration over this ridiculously long process, and I also sense the collective frustration of the other people who have been involved and supportive of Shane's case, like Doug Walters, for example, who was characteristically outspoken and appalled by this latest display of arrogance on the part of the system. We will now file an appeal, and go forward to the Appellate Court, which hopefully will take the new evidence we have meticulously presented in Judge Price's courtroom,see through the lies and inaccuracies of the prosecution's case, and finally administer justice.

I am sickened by Judge Price's decision, but also by the way he so cavalierly took his sweet time rendering this decision while Shane was languishing in prison. Our motion hearing concluded in October of 2013. Judge Price issued his outrageous decision on June 13, 2014. That's eight months. Eight months to issue a decision which basically says "I don't believe Christine Holloway" (the "eyewitness" who was pressured and manipulated into making an ID, who flew up from Atlanta to recant her trial testimony and describe, in detail, how Detective Jones deceived her into identifying Shane from a photo). Miss Holloway had no motive to ID Shane, and was even unaware that he had been convicted, because she moved to Georgia years ago. Her courtroom description of the way she was handled and pressured into an ID on the night of the shooting was riveting, and cast an appalling light on Detective Jones' actions. Equally appalling: the contemptuous interrogation Miss Holloway endured in a private meeting with the three prosecutors before the motion hearings began in which they bullied her, Gestapo-style .

It sickens me that because of a pathetically bad prosecution, a lazy and irresponsible Detective (Jones), an inept defense (Shane's trial lawyer Paul Markstein), a pig-headed trial judge (Gerald Scheindlin) and a clueless jury, Shane has spent twenty years of his young life in prison. Judge Richard Price's incredible "decision" further exacerbates the vile nature of this entire sad saga, punctuated by the judge taking his sweet time rendering his absurd decision while Shane could have been filing an appeal and taking the steps we can only take NOW because of judicial laziness and indifference. This is the justice system in the USA in 2014.

Once again I will take a lesson from my friend and brother and try to look upon this latest atrocity as one step closer to that ever-elusive goal: justice.

We have struggled to pay our attorney what we already owe for his work on the motion. We go forward facing more financial obligations as he prepares to represent Shane in the appeal process. I have been very grateful to friends and supporters for their personal contributions towards Shane's defense and will not continue to ask for more. We all have our own financial pressures and obligations. Perhaps you may know of another individual, or organization, company, foundation, whatever...that would be willing to help fund this effort. If so, please let me know.

In the meantime thank you for your continued support for Shane Watson, whose case represents what happens when ineptitude overrides truth. A victory for Shane is long overdue.





Thursday, June 19, 2014

An Ounce of Prevention

Having had a day or so to absorb the news of Judge Price's outrageous ruling, I think it is important to learn from this moment, or at least reinforce something all of us have been aware of from the start. Judge Price's denial of a new trial for Shane, despite glaring new evidence and the revelation of just how ineptly and corruptly Shane's prosecution was, proves a point:


It is extremely difficult to undo a conviction.


By nature, the courts loathe admitting that mistakes were made. I use the term "mistakes" politely here, because certainly in Shane's case "mistakes" were just one factor in his conviction. Blatant incompetence, prosecutorial laziness and investigative procedures that border on criminal activity also played a part in Shane's conviction. Anyone who witnessed the arrogance of the DA's trio of lawyers at last summer's hearings knows exactly what I am talking about here.


Shane's case starkly reveals just why the police and the DA's office need to get it right from the start. Shane has spent the last 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. This is, of course, the heart of this outrageous case. The endless hours spent writing letters, pleading for financial support, spreading Shane's story, going to court, waiting, hoping, wondering...all of this is just an additional consequence of a very mean-spirited, lazy and corrupt prosecution from 1993.


We are moving forward and will appeal Judge Price's decision to the Appellate Court, where, hopefully, justice will finally be served, putting an end to what has been a monumental waste of time and life.


Thank you for your support.


Will

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

JUSTICE DENIED: JUDGE PRICE DENIES OUR MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL

Very disappointing news today from our attorney Robert Boyle. Eight months after our motion hearings concluded, Judge Richard Price denied our motion for a new trial for Shane. In a 50-page decision, the judge evidently rejected the new evidence we put forth, and was satisfied with the DA's total lack of convincing evidence. I received this news via email this afternoon and was stunned. The motion hearings which took place last summer were the result of ten years worth of effort and struggle, on the part of Shane's supporters, family, our investigator Doug Walters, our attorney Robert Boyle, and others.

However, the battle is still not over. I had a conversation moments ago with Robert Boyle, who told me that Shane has 30 days in which to file a Motion to Appeal  Judge Price's outrageous decision. This appeal would be filed in the Appellate Court, 1st Level. What does this mean? It means that a panel of judges would, if the  motion is accepted (only 1 judge would need to vote in favor of the motion) review Judge Price's findings and either affirm his decision, or overturn his decision, in which case Shane would receive a new trial. This is our only possible course of action at this point, and we will take it. Mr. Boyle stated that the most recent exonerations have been the result of this appellate process, in fact, which is encouraging.

I have had several hours to absorb today's news. Although I am still angry and frustrated, I believe that there is still hope for Shane to finally receive justice. Obviously, Shane is the person who is hurting the most throughout this ordeal, and needs our continued prayers and support. I will not give up on him, and I'll not allow today's atrocious ruling to destroy the work we've done for the past ten years.








Thursday, June 12, 2014

It Can Happen To You

I just happened to watch  "An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story" a documentary about a man who was imprisoned for twenty-five years unjustly, because of criminal activity on part of the prosecutor and DA's office. Sound familiar? Morton lived in Williamson County, Texas and was falsely accused and convicted of killing his wife in August of 1986. In a letter to the trial judge, Morton proclaimed his innocence:




On April 12, 1987, Michael Morton sat down to write a letter. 
“Your Honor,” he began, “I’m sure you remember me. I was convicted of murder, in your court, in February of this year.” He wrote each word carefully, sitting cross-legged on the top bunk in his cell at the Wynne prison unit, in Huntsville. “I have been told that you are to decide if I am ever to see my son, Eric, again. I haven’t seen him since the morning that I was convicted. I miss him terribly and I know that he has been asking about me.” Referring to the declarations of innocence he had made during his trial, he continued, “I must reiterate my innocence. I did NOT kill my wife. You cannot imagine what it is like to lose your wife the way I did, then to be falsely accused and convicted of this terrible crime. First, my wife and now possibly, my son! Sooner or later, the truth will come out. The killer will be caught and this nightmare will be over. I pray that the sheriff’s office keeps an open mind. It is no sin to admit a mistake. No one is perfect in the performance of their job. I don’t know what else to say except I swear to God that I did NOT kill my wife. Please don’t take my son from me too.”




It took twenty-five years and the assistance of The Innocence Project to conclusively prove that the DNA found on a bandana at the crime scene did NOT contain Morton's blood. Despite pleas from the attorneys at The Innocence Project, the DA in Texas refused to have the bandana tested for DNA. Why? Eventually, a court-ordered DNA test not only exonerated Morton , but identified the killer, who had a long criminal history and was even charged with a SECOND murder as a result of the DNA findings.




Ironically, Shane Watson's case is not eligible for any type of DNA-based evidence, since Shane was not at the crime scene,  and no gun was ever recovered from the shooting. Shane's case is based purely on extremely questionable "eyewitness" testimony, which has now been officially recanted in court.




We still await a decision from Judge Richard Price about our motion to vacate Shane's conviction.  our motion hearings began last summer on July15, 2013 and concluded in October of this year.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Thoughts from Shane

We are still waiting for a decision from Judge Richard Price regarding the hearing on the Motion to overturn Shane's conviction. The motion hearings concluded in October of last year, in the Bronx Criminal Court.


I received a letter yesterday from Shane, in which he once again displayed tremendous faith and patience regarding this period of waiting:



"As long as it may seem (waiting for a decision from Judge Richard Price) we're right on schedule. I was going over the Carlos Morillo case, so similar to ours. (Attorney Robert) Boyle cited it in the motion. The D.A. tried to oppose and defend the conviction like they did with ours, in the Bronx. His (Morillo's) hearing started on September 20, 2010 and went on for months. The judge granted the motion on September 1, 2011. Then he (Morillo) went home November 20 or 21st, 2011. Hallelujah!

So the point I am making is we're in May now, and our hearing began on July15, 2013, a day I will never forget, Diane A. Watson's birthday (Shane and Paula's daughter). So Judge Price now has May, June and July (to make it) one year."



Let's keep the positive energy going.


Please take a few moments to drop a line to Shane:


Mr. Shane Watson
DIN 93A9384
c/o Fishkill Correctional Facility
Box 1245
Beacon, NY 12508



On another note: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PAULA WATSON!